Hooray! Fall weather has arrived, and our river operations closed last week. We are reflecting upon an eventful 2014 whitewater season here at Wet Planet. After a challenging and sad start for the team, it eventually turned out to become a really good season! We are very thankful we get to do what we do, living in the most beautiful area in the US (we think!), and working with a great team of ‘Wet Planet Family’ friends while creating smiles on our guests’ faces every day. We grow appreciation for exploring rivers amongst our rafters and kayakers and turn so many of our guests into passionate boaters. And we get to do all of that in a wonderful river community, while actively being part of the greater White Salmon, Hood River and Columbia River Gorge communities. Thank you all for getting out on the river with us each day this year! We are a fortunate bunch.
To mention a few special highlights and moments of our 2014 season…
Check out and enjoy our video slide show capturing many of this season’s happenings at Wet Planet
Curt Joyce – Our season began in a way which will sadly make us never forget 2014, and that was the unexpected and devastating passing of our friend, kayaking buddy, and co-worker Curt Joyce. While doing what he loved most (aside from hanging out with his wife Melissa), Curt passed away of unknown causes during a kayaking trip with friends down the Grand Canyon in March 2014. Both Curt and Melissa – they met on a Wet Planet rafting trip and had just married in September 2013 – were fixtures at Wet Planet for the last 5 years. Curt will always be part of Wet Planet. His grin, sense of humor, boyish upbeat go-getter attitude, his love and admiration for Melissa, their newly built life in Portland, his professional ambition combined with his passion for kayaking and bond with his kayaking buddies…they will always remain an inspiration and source of commitment for all of us at Wet Planet.
New River Operations Manager! – John Abercrombie stepped up to the plate and made it all happen this year. His deep desire for spending time on the river and have a good time doing it is infectious, inspiring and motivating for us every day. Thank you, Big John!
Staff Trip Hells Canyon –Oh man. The kids went bananas…Each year we kick off the season with a staff trip. It’s a great way to start the season, get back in river mode, and bond with new staff. Each year we try to pick a different destination, and this year we headed to the Hells Canyon section of the Snake River. Such an amazing canyon for a multi-day raft trip, right here in the Pacific Northwest. As you can tell, good times…
First Full Season of Running Full-Day Trips on the White Salmon River – From our private Upper launch site, all the way into the Columbia River. Our guests loved it – they got it all on this trip: class IV whitewater using our private Upper put-in, cliff jumping, rafting Husum Falls, lunch at Wet Planet. Lunch was followed by floating through the former reservoir and the newly opened lower stretch of river with spectacular canyon scenery, waterfalls, salmon, and ending the day with a swim in the Columbia River with a view of Hood River and Mt Hood.
Wet Planet Café! – We poured a lot of cold beers, local wine, and contented a lot bellies with great food and drinks. Besides feeding hungry boaters, we welcomed many curious local visitors and tourists recognizing that Husum had a new and convenient culinary attraction this year. We got the thumbs up, and are excited to use the time this winter to ponder next year’s menu!
First Descents – In June we celebrated our 5th year running several 5-day whitewater kayaking camps for the First Descents organization. First Descents makes it possible for fighters and survivors of cancer (ages 20-40) an opportunity to leave all that s*#t at home and have an amazing week ‘Out Living It’ amongst peers. These weeks are the highlight of our season. We love being able to bring a sparkle of joy back into the eyes of the participants, smiles on their faces, a bit of confidence in the future again, and simply a little fun in their days out here. Please visit www.firstdescents.org to learn more about this great organization and consider making a donation – they truly make a difference.
9th Annual White Salmon Riverfest – We love seeing how our community appreciates this event each year! Events included a full community float and a well-attended symposium showing Patagonia’s Damnation documentary, followed by live music and typical Husum food by Big Man at the Husum Riverside B&B and café. Thank you Heather / All Adventures for your help making it happen this year! It was cool to see another outfitter step it up and help make this community event a success.
Sense of Place Lecture Series by Gorge Owned community network – On Sunday, September 22nd, a full flotilla of 8 full rafts launched in Husum to raft the White Salmon River all the way into the Columbia River. The opportunity to see the newly opened section of river generated lots of oh’s, ah’s, and large smiles from all these people living here in the Gorge but who otherwise have not had a chance to go out and see the beauty of this river canyon on their own.
Salmon Surveys– How are the salmon doing? Are they appreciating the dam being gone and migrating back as their genes and instincts are telling them to do? As we have been doing each fall the last few years, Wet Planet assisted Fish & Wildlife with their fish studies. Stay tuned for a more detailed update for Wet Planet salmon and steelhead specialist Jared Vandenend soon…
‘Wet Planet’ – because it’s always paddling season somewhere – And this winter it is paddling season in Nepal. Stay tuned on travel updates and explorations by Todd Collins, John Abercrombie, Tyler Houck, Tony Nigon, Libby Tobey, and Brian O’Neill. They are exploring, working as guides on the Himalayan rivers, and having fun while experiencing a new country, culture and new rivers. And yes, Wet Planet may be heading to Nepal in October 2015. Stay tuned – and why not pencil it into your calendar already?!
Fall & Winter season at Wet Planet – Although weather fooled us for a long time that it was still summer, we are thankful the rain is here now, and leaves are turning to stunning colors. It’s pleasantly quiet around Wet Planet after a busy summer and good season. It feels like a quiet before a good fall storm and lots of snow this winter, so we can reflect and appreciate…and start getting ready for 2015! In only a little over 4 months…the rivers will be big, juicy, fun and ready for y’all! Start planning now – we are! Give us a call or shoot us an email this winter.
Wet Planet Fall & Winter Team: John, Eilidh, Leah, Todd, Tica & Jaco
Author: Jacomijn Klinkenberg – owner & manager Wet Planet Rafting – 100% made in Holland (also known as the Netherlands, which is not the capital of Denmark) – loves living in the Columbia River Gorge area, the most beautiful place in the US.